The Board backed the ambition and intent of the new Scottish Government bill which aims to ensure gender balance on public boards in Scotland. The Board also asked Scottish Ministers to include SEStran as a Regional Transport Partnership (RTP) within the provisions of the bill when laid before Parliament.
The Board further agreed to appoint Observers, a new position to the SEStran Board, to seek to improve developmental opportunities for all currently underrepresented groups to increase their experience of board meetings.
Whilst awaiting recognition within the forthcoming legislation, the Board agreed to sign up to the Scottish Government’s 50/50 by 2020 pledge, joining over 185 public bodies, third sector organisations and private companies who have already pledged to improve gender balance on boards. This positive action was agreed as a recognition of the requirements on Public Sector Equality Duty on SEStran to enhance greater participation in public life by all under-represented groups.
All these actions are part of a board diversity succession plan which was agreed on 2 March as part of SEStran’s equality outcomes 2017-2021 and consideration of our mainstreaming report for 2015-2017. It highlights our work with Changing the Chemistry and Equate Scotland, to seek to promote opportunities to enhance a greater diversity of skills and representation from across society from the Board right the way through the Partnership.
SEStran Chair, Cllr. Lesley Hinds commented “It’s welcome that at my last Board meeting as SEStran Chair, we agreed to a series of significant actions to promote diversity. As the first female Chair of the SEStran Board, in my view and experience it’s vital that public bodies take the steps required to promote greater participation of all under-represented groups on public boards. Diversity brings different skills and different experiences to a board which is vital for good governance of public services. We hope Scottish Ministers will listen to our representation and include SEStran in any final gender balance on public boards legislation. Until then we have pledged our commitment to the One Scotland 50/50 by 2020 gender balance goal”.
Changing the Chemistry (CtC) CEO Tanya Castell MBE said “As a charity that works with candidates and organisations to improve diversity of thought in the boardroom, Changing the Chemistry has been delighted to support SEStran with their commitment to improving their board diversity.”
Talat Yaqoob Director of Equate Scotland said: “It has been excellent working with SEStran over the last year and we are encouraged that they are taking a holistic and strategic approach to women’s under-representation in the organisation and in the transport sector. By making a 50/50 pledge on their board and working with us on positive action placements for women STEM students, they are showing real commitment in this area and we hope more organisations follow their lead.”
SEStran, even as a small public body, takes its public sector equality duties seriously and seeks to play its part in promoting opportunities for greater diversity of representation in public life. In September 2016, SEStran was one of the first public bodies to sign up to the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transport (CIHT) Equality and Diversity Charter and SEStran has since signed up to the Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions Programme. Last week the Board also agreed to set up a Succession Planning Committee, tasked with meeting annually, to oversee all the issues relating to Board Diversity.
SEStran’s Board Diversity Succession Plan puts into place actions to promote diversity of skills and representation of Board members from next year onwards and contribute to the continuous improvement of our public sector equality duties. The overall aim is to make public bodies and their boards better able to reflect the public they serve.
Further information about the work of SEStran can be found here.